Why Olympians are the REAL celebrities
Isabel Mohan argues that the race track is the new red carpet and that Olympians are in and the celebrities are SO out!
Before the Games began, my interest in sport was smaller than a Chinese gymnast’s bottom, but something curious has happened to me over the past week – I’ve stopped idly flicking through glossy magazines and scowling at celebrity gossip sites, and instead my eyes are glued to the Olympics.
I’ve no idea if Kim Kardashian has been shopping recently, or if Rihanna has nonchalantly strolled through New York wearing nothing but three strategically placed daisies, or if Harry Styles has started dating Carol Vorderman.
"Celebrity gossip is dead; now it’s all about the Olympians."
And yet I’ve memorised the formation of Jessica Ennis’s stomach muscles, acquired a fleeting crush on a swimmer from the Cayman Islands, and I even know my Tweddle from my Gibbons and my Wiggins.
So it’s official: celebrity gossip is dead; now it’s all about the Olympians.
And praise the Lord Coe for that – to be honest, my gossip apathy kicked in when people started watching TOWIE. I’ve never understood the appeal of Essex no-marks whose televisual lives are dramatically engineered to be 0.03% less mind-numbingly pointless than their actual lives.
The problem was, until a week ago, there was no real alternative on TV. My 2012 enthusiasm began when I watched the Opening Ceremony and excitedly tried to catch a glimpse of my boyfriend, who was one of the thousands of volunteer dancers. In the end, he was visible on telly for a split second, dressed up as Marc Bolan in the 1970s sequence, and it’s fair to say this is the closest I’ve ever come to dating an actual rockstar.
"Olympians' tans are real because they leap around outside a lot, they’ve got a running track in place of a red carpet and incredibly blingy medals instead of vajazzles..."
Still, I thought my excitement would end there. After all, I was hardly going to actually watch other people swimming, when I can barely manage to go myself, was I? How wrong I was: I’m hooked.
There are multiple reasons why Olympians are better than celebrities: their tans are real because they leap around outside a lot, they’ve got a running track in place of a red carpet and incredibly blingy medals instead of vajazzles, plus any unfortunate camel toe incidents are an occupational hazard rather than an attempt to get papped outside a nightclub.
But of course, the real attraction is that these athletes – most of whom are just as young and gorgeous as your average popstar or reality TV wannabe – are incredibly talented and have actually worked hard, harder than most of us can even comprehend, to get where they are. OK, so a lot of sporty types aren’t exactly oozing with personality – they often talk in clichés and take themselves terribly seriously – but I can’t remember the last time a celebrity said anything interesting either.
"I have a feeling a few leggy young teens might realise that hurdles could be just as viable a career option as glamour modelling."
Is it a bit ridiculous that Tom Daley has an autobiography at the age of 18? Well, yes, a bit… until you realise that 21 year old Sam-From-Offa-Towie has got one too. I know which one I’d rather read.
We’ve all heard the worrying stats about how most young girls these days only aspire to be WAGs and X Factor stars. But if the Olympics have managed to inspire enthusiasm in me, the lazy, uncoordinated girl who used to slope home from PE lessons in tears, then I have a feeling a few leggy young teens might realise that hurdles could be just as viable a career option as glamour modelling.
Isabel Mohan (@Isabel_Mohan) is a freelancer writer and showbiz commentator.
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